I like Wolters Kluwer Health’s UpToDate‘s model of current awareness. Subject-matter experts in healthcare monitor articles in medical journals and results of clinical trials and incorporate into the evidence-based clinical decision support guidelines within UpToDate so that medical professionals’ decisions are truly up to date. Instead of merely presenting the most recent journal articles for reading – and there are hundreds of thousands every year – UpToDate presents a “comprehensive synthesis of the evidence.” In summary, UpToDate makes health and medical current awareness actionable. In my opinion, UpToDate is an inspirational model for current awareness for lawyers, accountants and compliance professionals. So how might UpToDate’s model of presenting practice-changing updates manifest in the tax, legal & regulatory space? Here are some examples: Read further >
Vice President of Strategy & Competitive Intelligence
Wolters Kluwer Global Platform Organization
John Barker is Vice President of Strategy & Competitive Intelligence in Wolters Kluwer’s Global Platform Organization. In this role, John provides strategic direction for Wolters Kluwer’s global tax, legal, and regulatory content delivery platform, Global Atlas, and shares strategic product design best practices globally across Wolters Kluwer.
John has an extensive background in professional publishing, including as a Product Manager and Executive Legal Consultant at LexisNexis, a consultant, and award-winning Account Manager for Thomson Reuters. John has appeared as a keynote speaker at multiple Law Librarian Associations, and authored more than 50 articles discussing the application of technology to the practice of law. He has served as a Special Counsel for Technology at the Indianapolis law firm of Ice Miller LLP, and had a clerkship to a U.S. Magistrate with the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
John holds a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Tulane University Law School, New Orleans, and a BA in Philosophy, magna cum laude, from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.
Posts by John Barker
Today’s professionals – accountants, lawyers, physicians, nurses, paralegals and law librarians – interact with a plethora of knowledge objects (print books, ebooks, online research databases, workflow tools linked to those research databases, and software applications). There is a tendency for each knowledge object to have a unique path of discovery, purchase and delivery. Want an ebook? Go to the estore. Want software or a research product? Call a sales rep. But Amazon’s digital engagement model offers a different way. Read further >
I observe similar trends in knowledge management tools for healthcare and legal professionals. Both doctors and lawyers must increase productivity in the face of ever more challenging patient/client demands. They don’t have time for a lot of reading and research. So knowledge management for both must focus on providing practical synoptic content. In my opinion, several healthcare knowledge management (KM) tools that provide evidence-based clinical decision support to providers can serve as inspiration for legal KM. Read further >
My recent read of Walter Isaacson’s book, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, caused me to probe into the history of innovation at Wolters Kluwer and other organizations. Here are my take-aways from Isaacson’s book (maybe you have others): Read further >
The billable hour pricing model for law firms in the US & UK isn’t dead yet, particularly for complex litigation, M&A, and tax matters. But it’s under pressure: corporate legal clients’ need to reduce costs and their willingness to look to alternative providers of legal services – including outsourced legal research, out-sourced/off-shored legal drafting & document review as well as automation, including automated regulatory compliance and intelligent interactive document assembly. In reality, law firms must adapt to the unbundling of their value chain. The challenge is most law schools didn’t offer joint MBA/JD programs and teach best business practices in business strategy (e.g., Michael Porter) in the legal curriculum. In addition to studying Michael Porter to understand how large corporate clients’ executive boards and strategy departments are thinking about their business goals, I recommend focusing on the following 3 success factors to adapt: Read further >
There are several articles recommending that law firms leverage the expert search and knowledge management (KM) expertise of law library staff in business development. For example, in an article posted at Altman Weil, Nina Cunningham suggests two actions law library staff might take to enhance their role in law firm business development, namely, (1) partner closely with the IT department of the firm and (2) become an expert in the firm’s major practice groups. Partnering with the IT department is essential because IT often controls access to all KM technologies in the firm, including firm-wide portals/intranets and practice group distribution lists. Expertise in a practice area enables law library staff to create ever more relevant search alerts for members of the practice group and gain deeper insight into the preferred channels for each member to receive bizdev-related current awareness (smartphone/tablet, Intranet, RSS, social media, etc.). Another article posted at aallnet.org recommends that law library staff should partner closely with the firm’s marketing department – and to be sure that the marketing teams give proper credit to law library staff that help in running queries, analyzing search results, and creating profiles of clients, their competitors and the firm’s competitors. But there is much more value that the law library can provide. Read further >
I had the privilege of participating in a knowledge-sharing meeting held by the ILO (Institute for Innovation in Large Organizations) in Chicago. ILO’s Founder and President, Peter Themes, facilitated the meeting. Executives representing large companies in the Chicago area, as well as the UIC Innovation Center, shared best practices in making innovation work in large organizations. The group explored several themes, such as the following: Read further >
Like many lawyers, accountants, knowledge workers, and other professionals, I maintain a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn’s investor presentations, which I recommend reading, reveal ambitions far beyond being merely a social networking space for knowledge workers. In addition to wanting to be the professional network for connecting all of the world’s professionals, LinkedIn also wants to “be the definitive professional publishing platform.” Read further >
Lawyers and other legal professionals have relied for decades on legal citation indexes. These citators include the CCH Citator, GlobalCite, KeyCite and Shepard’s(R) Citations. They help legal professionals better understand whether a primary source of law being relied upon for a legal argument remains “good law.” Citators also help lawyers expand their research by locating primary and secondary sources of law that comment, explain, agree, disagree with, etc. with them. This is the research function of citators. But is it not time for citators to begin indexing social media, particularly social media created by lawyers and law firms? Read further >
Just like parties to commercial transactions today, merchants in Europe in the Middle Ages knew that time is money. Waiting on courts and legislative entities was a money-losing option, so they created their own means to settle disputes – the lex mercatoria (see articles in Wikipedia and Trans-Lex.org for an overview). The lex mercatoria, Latin for “commercial law,” took into account best commercial practices and existing laws of the jurisdiction where disputes arose. Some commercial best practices were later codified into national legal systems. Others were recognized in judicial opinions. Other customs remained, simply, customs. Read further >